SPC hits ‘Heights’ rights

Close, Marsden, Banks star in tyro Terrio's pic

PARK CITY — Continuing its ongoing relationship with Merchant Ivory, Sony Pictures Classics has acquired North American and selected international distribution rights to first-time helmer Chris Terrio’s “Heights.”

Pic, currently in post-production, stars Glenn Close, James Marsden, Elizabeth Banks and Jesse Bradford. The contempo drama examines the hip, glamorous and intersecting lives of a group of young people during 24 hours in New York City’s theaters, nightspots, rooftops and streets.

Terrio co-wrote the screenplay with playwright Amy Fox, who adapted her one-act Off Broadway play for the pic.

“Heights” was produced by Ismail Merchant, James Ivory and Richard Hawley and shot entirely in New York. It’s the first movie to shoot in the offices of Vanity Fair magazine.

“As a New Yorker I really wanted to shoot my first feature in New York,” Terrio said, “and we managed to use great locations all over the city, which was great.”

Pic also stars John Light, Eric Bogosian, Michael Murphy, Rufus Wainwright and George Segal, with Isabella Rossellini “guest starring.”

Distrib is expected to submit pic to Cannes in hopes of landing a Directors Fortnight slot at this year’s fest.

No release date has been set for the pic.

As part of the deal, SPC acquired rights to pic in Australia, Spain, Latin America and Scandinavia.

Merchant Ivory and SPC previously teamed on “Howard’s End,” helmed by Ivory; “In Custody,” directed by Merchant; and, set to shoot this year, “The White Countess,” a period drama set in China starring Ralph Fiennes and Natasha Richardson, with Ivory to direct.

“This continues our relationship with Merchant Ivory and is exactly the kind of film with young talent that Merchant Ivory is committed to make,” said Sony Pictures Classics partner Michael Barker. “It’s very sexy, hip and modern. It’s … exactly the kind of indie film we love.”

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